Maybe evolution isn’t or Let’s deconstruct time…

February 1, 2007 at 03:22 | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I’m not trying to prove evolution to be false, I’m merely mulling over a point of contestation that destabilizes our concept of time through thinking about ‘evolution’.

What happens when we begin to think about rates of decay, and decomposition with a consciousness of the properties of styrofoam? Let us assume that some sort of sentient being will come along after human beings are extinct, dig around for fossils, and use a process similar to carbon-dating. If it takes longer for styrofoam to decompose than it does for a human being, then the oldest piece of styrofoam could potentially remain intact as the oldest human remains completely decompose. If styrofoam remains were to outlast the oldest human remains, then styrofoam would become–through archaelogical empiricism–older than human beings. I’m not suggesting that this will happen, but it presents a curious ontology in regards to the perception of time through the use of fossil records.

Could we imagine that the ontology of archaelogical styrofoam might apply to fossils that we use to construct geneaologies of life on Earth? I’m not saying that there is explicit evidence either way, but I’m wondering if it’s a feasible thought. Is it possible that trilobyte’s possesed some kind of biological trait that causes them to resist decomposition, or to retain Carbon14 molecules that would normally ecape as radiation? I’m not so well-versed in the properties of Carbon14 dating to this extent, or to the consideration of mineral content in archaelogical research, so possibly my thinking is moot. Nonetheless though, it is these kinds of possible breaks that interest me, and become the necessity of continued contemplation on time.

*An interesting piece of trivia based upon my limited–and skeptical–knowledge of Carbon14 dating: If an object is placed close enough to a fire it’s Carbon14 indicator is reset to zero. For example, if a certified neolithic tool (the neolithic age dates back to about 8500 BC) in a museum is removed from its display case, and placed next to a fire, and then undergoes Carbon14 dating, the test will show the tool as zero years old, rather than 10,500 years old.


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